Blossoming Deen

Islam For Enlightenment

Where Wealth Accumulates

Posted by JHR on July 30, 2012 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Where Wealth Accumulates

By Imam Zaid Shakir

Trailer and promo video to United for Change Presents: United against Poverty

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6IP2g8rvoE

Promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tx9m2rL7gw

http://www.unitedforchange.com/

Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ill a prey,

 

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay;

 

Oliver Goldsmith

 

British-Irish author (1730 – 1774)

 

In his final book, Ill Fares the Land, Tony Judt laments the materialism and selfishness he saw destroying the very fabric of modern society. Were we to summarize the dire message that Judt is sending in the last published work before his death, it is that individual greed has devastating social and political consequences. In Judt's assessment, if those consequences are not arrested soon, a meaningful and fair politics, one of the critical foundations of civilized human life, may no longer be possible.

 

Unfortunately, in the reckless pursuit of ever more wealth, far more than our social and political systems are imperiled. Mother Earth screams for relief, as more and more resources are squeezed from her generous though not inexhaustible bosom. As for us humans, we find ourselves entering into an uncharted nether land where quantity becomes the measure of all things, even those whose essence can only be found in their quality. One of the consequences of this situation, in Judt's words, “We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth.”

 

It is in this light that I reflect on the great blessings of Ramaḍān, whose incomparable days and nights have now arrived. Ramaḍān is a time of fasting, prayer and the Qurʾān. These are its most readily observable distinctions, and rightly so in light of the great emphasis both the Book of Allāh and the prophetic tradition places on them. However, the sacred month is also one of spending and charity. The charity of Ramaḍān, like the spirit from whence it emerges, allows us to move beyond the costs of things, and helps us get back into contact with their worth.

 

The Prophet Muhammad is described as being the most generous of all humans ordinarily. During Ramaḍān he was especially charitable. One of the reasons for this is that during Ramaḍān the Angel Gabriel would visit him and review the Qurʾān with him. During this process, the Prophet would pass by the verses both encouraging and mentioning the virtue of charity. For example: “…and they spend from what we have bestowed upon them (2:3); “…and they spend [their wealth] despite their love of it (2:177); “O Believers! Spend from what we have bestowed upon you before there comes a day when there will no commerce… (2:254); “You will not attain righteousness until you spend of what you love… (3:92)”; and so on.

 

When these meanings entered the heart of the noble Prophet they did not fail to engender commensurate actions. This is one of explanations the scholars give for the munificence displayed by the Prophet during Ramaḍān. When he was ordered by his Lord to be charitable, he heard and he obeyed. We should all ask ourselves, “As we read, listen to and ponder the Qurʾānic message during Ramaḍān, what is our response? We hear, but do we obey?”

 

The Prophet's response of unbounded generosity helped to usher in a new era in human affairs. Alms were instituted as an obligatory aspect of the faith and charity was encouraged to such an extent that it was considered an indispensable part of proper Muslim teachings, even though it was not a binding obligation. As a result, incredible institutions appeared, which helped to give Islamic Civilization its unique and rich flavor. Hostels and hotels dotted the roadsides of Muslim lands to assist the wayfarer onwards towards his destination -free of charge. Charitable foundations were created to provide food and clothing for the poor -without cost. Schools, colleges and universities provided a free education for students up to the highest levels of learning. Hospitals treated the sick or injured free of charge.

 

Even retired horses were provided pastures to live out their days at no cost to their owners. Children who broke a valuable vessel or dish while running errands would not be charged to replace them; there was an endowment established for that purpose. Private wealth, while respected, was shared and the Qurʾānic urging that it “not just circulate between the wealthy among you” (59:7) was reflected in the structure of Muslim societies.

 

These socioeconomic realities did not produce a cornucopia of wealth nor was poverty eradicated in its entirety. However, the gross inequalities between the superrich and the overwhelming majority of people in most nations, along with the economic marginalizing of entire populations that we are currently witnessing, did not exist.

 

For example, currently, in the United States, the top 1% of the population controls over 40% of the financial wealth compared to just 7% of that wealth controlled by the bottom 80%. Correspondingly, the disappearance of America's manufacturing sector has created a situation where unemployment among urban African American youth in most northern ghettos, areas that once attracted large numbers of unskilled African Americans to man an expansive network of factories, hovers between 50% – 65%. In some countries, such as Mexico, the vagaries of neoliberal economics have eliminated entire economic sectors, such as the campesinos, who once grew corn for a living.

 

One of the reasons that Judt identifies for the current crisis is a lack of political will. It is easy to understand why the political will would be lacking in an environment of corruption that lavishly rewards the politicians who help facilitate the current plunder. However, there is another reason for that lack of will, which is rooted in the nature of the virtue from which charity emerges. Charity is predicated on courage. In this sense, it is not surprising to know that the Prophet was the most generous of people, when we learn that he was also described as the most courageous of all people.

 

A charitable person does not fear the consequences of poverty. This is particularly true when one's reliance of Allāh is complete, as was the case of the Prophet. The qualities of munificence and courage are combined in a narration describing the aftermath of the Battle of Hunain. It is related that following that encounter a man approached the Prophet and was given a valley filled with sheep. The man returned to his people and beseeched them, “O people, accept Islam! For Muhammad gives like a man who does not fear poverty.” (Muslim, 4282)

 

Again, we should ask ourselves, “What is the nature of our giving, and how many times have we missed an opportunity to be charitable fearing that we could possibly lose our source of income or were simply afraid that if we give we might find ourselves inadequately prepared for a future “rainy day?” Saying this is not to encourage irresponsible spending or unplanned living. Umar is reported to have said, “Good planning is half of one's worldly existence.” We mention this as a reminder that we have to constantly measure our own actions against the prophetic standard. The closer our actions, words and states approximate those of the blessed Messenger the greater will be our impact on the world.

 

Just as charity connects the believer with his or her society, in a healthy fashion, it also strengthens the bond between the believer and his or her Lord. The Prophet mentioned that charity is a proof, that is to say a proof of the soundness of a believer's faith and the strength of his or her trust in God. As we mentioned earlier, we are told in the Qurʾān that we will not attain righteousness until we spend of what we love. In other words, we have to be willing to part with some of our dearest possessions, for the sake of others, if we want to have a strong relationship with God.

 

All of these teachings place Muslims, as a community, in an incredible position to be the advocates and harbingers of a set of economic principles and practices that can represent a source of hope for the rapidly expanding masses of impoverished, marginalized and increasingly disenfranchised people. Let us approach Ramaḍān bearing that in mind and in our own unique ways begin the process of social, economic and spiritual change. If enough of us do so, by the Grace of God, the land may yet fare well.

via: http://muslimmatters.org/2012/07/28/where-wealth-accumulates/

The difference between Love and a Haraam Relationship

Posted by JHR on March 25, 2012 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Question: I am a 24 years old girl. I fell in love, no dates, no meetings involved, pure love to a pure religious person. He promised to marry me and asked me to wait for him as his circumstances are difficult. I do not remember that he called me more than once. I asked him not to call me; because I feel this is wrong, although I love him. I felt that our love started going in the direction, he agreed to this feeling, and respected my opinion. He just sends me E-mails every so often via internet, so that I know his news. We have been in this love relationship for one year. I know this person and his family, and they know us well as well. I love him for Allah’s sake and sure he loves me as well. The problem is that I started receiving proposals, about 8 so far. Every time I refuse because I promised to wait for him. Now I am confused, is what I am doing halal or haram? I pray, Alhamdulillah, all obligatory and optional prayers, and pray qiyaam in the night as well; I fear I lose my good deeds because of what I am doing. Is a pure chaste love haram? Is my love to him halal or haram?.

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

First of all I ask Allaah to guide you and grant you happiness, and I ask Him to increase the numbers of girls like you who are keen to maintain chastity and purity and adhere to the sacred limits of Allaah in their affairs, among the most important of which are emotional relationships that many people take lightly, so they overstep the mark and transgress the sacred limits of Allaah, and Allaah tests them with problems that we read about and hear of, in which there is a lesson for every Muslim and for every wise person.

 

You should note that correspondence and contact between the sexes is one of the doors that lead to fitnah (temptation). Sharee’ah is filled with evidence which indicates that it is essential to beware of falling into the traps of the shaytaan in this matter. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw a young man merely looking at a young woman, he turned his head so as to make him look away, then he said: “I saw a young man and a young woman, and I did not trust the shaytaan not to tempt them.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (885) and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

 

Hence you did well to cut off contact with this young man, and we hope that you will stop corresponding too, because correspondence is one of the greatest doors to corruption that have been opened for people nowadays. This has been discussed in a number of questions.

 

This does not mean that it is haraam for a man or woman to like a specific person whom he or she chooses to be a spouse, and feel love for that person and want to marry them if possible. Love has to do with the heart, and it may appear in a person’s heart for reasons known or unknown. But if it is because of mixing or looking or haraam conversations, then it is also haraam. If it is because of previous acquaintance, being related or because of hearing about that person, and one cannot ward it off, then there is nothing wrong with that love, so long as one adheres to the sacred limits set by Allaah.

 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

 

If love develops for a reason that is not haraam, a person cannot be blamed for that, such as one who loves his wife or his slave woman, then he leaves her but that love remains and does not leave him. He is not to be blamed for that. The same applies if he glances accidentally then looks away, but love may settle in his heart without him wanting it to. But he has to ward it off and look away. End quote.

 

Rawdat al-Muhibbeen (p. 147).

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

 

A person may hear that a woman is of good character and virtuous and knowledgeable, so he may want to marry her. Or a woman may hear that a man is of good character and virtuous and knowledgeable and religiously committed, so she may want to marry him. But contact between the two who admire one another in ways that are not Islamically acceptable is the problem, which leads to disastrous consequences. In this case it is not permissible for the man to get in touch with the woman or for the woman to get in touch with the man, and say that he wants to marry her. Rather he should tell her wali (guardian) that he wants to marry her, or she should tell her wali that she wants to marry him, as ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) did when he offered his daughter Hafsah in marriage to Abu Bakr and ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with them both). But if the woman contacts the man directly, this is what leads to fitnah (temptation). End quote.

 

Liqaa’aat al-Baab il-Maftooh (26/question no. 13)

 

Our advice to you is that it is essential to stop corresponding with this young man, and tell him that he has to propose to you through your wali, if he really does want to get married. He should not regard his material circumstances or anything else as a barrier. The matter is simple, in sha Allaah, and if a person is content with little, Allaah will make him independent of means by His grace and bounty. He should at least contact your wali and do the shar’i marriage contract, and if the consummation is delayed there is nothing wrong with that. But if it remains as a promise to get married, ande correspondence continues between you on that basis, this – according to the rulings of sharee’ah and the experience of real life – is a wrong path that opens the door to sin and corruption. You can be certain that you will never find happiness except by obeying Allaah and adhering to the limits set by his sharee’ah. The permissible ways are sufficient and there is no need for haraam means, but we make it hard for ourselves and the shaytaan takes advantage of that.

 

Your delay in getting married is very harmful for you. You are getting older and this young man’s circumstances are not improving; you are not marrying him and you are not marrying anyone else. Beware of delaying, for that will only cause harm. You should realize that one of these men who have proposed marriage may be more religiously committed and righteous than that young man, and there may be far greater love with him than there is between you and that young man.

 

And Allaah knows best.

 

Taken from: http://blog.iloveallaah.com/2010/07/the-difference-between-love-and-a-haraam-relationship/



Ar-Razzaq (The Provider) By JINAN BASTAKI

Posted by JHR on March 15, 2012 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

In the last article, we discussed how Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) is the constant Giver of gifts. We mentioned how the nature of a gift is that it is not given in exchange for anything, but rather it is out of love and mercy, and a reminder that we have a Lord who is taking care of us.


 

Alhamdulilah (all praise be to God), many of us recognize these gifts when they are given. Yet we are plagued by worry for our everyday and future sustenance. The job market is down, how will I get a job? How will I support my kids? How can I get married when I don’t make enough money? Endless thoughts of worry fill our minds. And this is where ar-Razzaq comes in.

 

What is Rizq?

 

In order to understand Allah’s Name ar-Razzaq, we need to know what rizq means. Rizq is what has been apportioned for you which benefits you. So Allah (swt) is ar-Razzaq—He is the One who creates your rizq, and takes it upon Himself to deliver what He has apportioned to His servants. And because He is ar-Razzaq, and not ar-Raaziq, He provides this sustenance to everyone: Muslim and non-Muslim, woman and man, humans and animals and plants. It encompasses everything on earth. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

 

“And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision [rizq], and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.” (Qur’an, 11:6)

 

This is a statement from Allah (swt). He says that the provision for His creatures is upon Him. And in case we had doubt, Allah (swt) takes an oath by the heavens and earth. He says:

 

“And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised. Then by the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed, it is truth – just as [sure as] it is that you are speaking.” (Qur’an, 51:22-23)

 

The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said that a soul will not die until it gets all of the provision that has been apportioned for it (Ibn Hibban). Just looking at the heavens and the earth, and the way that rain falls and plants grow should be enough proof for us. We take it for granted, that this is the natural course of things. But Allah (swt) determined the course that nature will take. So if He created the system in which the rizq of all of the creatures is made, how will He not provide for you when He has said of human beings, “We have certainly honored the children of Adam,” (Qur’an 17:70). So even if you feel that your provision is slow in coming for you, remember that whatever is written for you will come. What rests on you is how strive for it.

 

So what specifically can be counted as rizq?

 

When we refer to rizq, many people assume it is just money. But rizq is what benefits you. So it can be money and any material thing in this world. It can also be something emotional. And it can be spiritual rizq. The person who takes it upon himself to attend talks, surround himself with good people and increase in the good that he does is taking the steps to feed his soul. And Allah (swt) will raise his station because of that.

 

Striving: A Condition of Rizq

 

This is the crux of our lesson today: the lesson of striving. Your rizq will not come to you if you do not work for it. That is the essential difference between hiba—a gift—and rizq. Your rizq is written for you but in order for you to unlock the door, you need to work as if your rizq depended on how hard you try, but in your heart, you know that nothing will come to you except what Allah (swt) has written for you.

 

And this is why if we truly believe in ar-Razzaq, we will never ever seek haraam (prohibited) means of living. If we truly believe that what has been written will come to us, then we know that we do not need to seek unethical ways of making a living. We work in whatever way that we can, in a manner that befits us as Muslims, knowing that it is Allah (swt) Who will provide for us. Even if everyone around you is engaging in corruption.

 

The example of Hajar alayha as-salam (peace be upon her) perfectly shows this. In the midst of the desert, she is stuck. Her infant is crying because he is hungry, and her food supplies have run out. She runs up and down Safa and Marwa 7 times, searching for something, anything. And Allah (swt) rewards that striving with the well of Zamzam that we still benefit from today. When we go on Umrah or Hajj (pilgrimage), we perform the “sa`y”, which means striving, emulating the footsteps of Hajar (as), so we never forget the lesson of working hard with the means around us. And the way that this perfectly illustrates the concept of rizq is that it came from where she did not imagine. She fulfilled her part—and Allah (swt) gave her what He apportioned for her. This is especially a lesson for those of us who say there is nothing for us to do—but there is always something to do. Even working to seek the means to be productive is something we will be rewarded for because it shows we are serious in our striving. And Allah (swt) may give it to you through the channels that you sought or through something completely different. It is simply to show you that your rizq is in His Hands.

 

I knew someone who really needed a job but didn’t want to ‘sell-out’ by applying to something just for the money. This friend applied everywhere that seemed to be ethical and in line with his interests. But it was one rejection after another. This continued for months, but masha’Allah (what God wills), this friend never lost hope. And out of nowhere, an organization contacted him even though he had not applied. One could take the lesson that he didn’t even need to apply to all the other places, but he did. Because that showed he was serious. And Allah (swt) brought down his rizq in the form of a job offer he did not apply for, just to show that rizq comes from Him.

 

So knowing that rizq is guaranteed is not an excuse to be lazy. No one knew ar-Razzaq better than the Prophet ﷺ, but there is not one moment in his seerah (life) where we see a defeatist attitude. His example is the best example, because he shows us what it means to have full trust that he will receive what Allah (swt) has written for him, and yet work in a way that shows he planned, thought deeply and sought people’s opinions.

 

What about people who don’t seem to get their rizq? Why are people starving?

 

It may be easy for someone to believe that Allah (swt) does not provide. We see pictures of children freezing in Afghanistan and starving in Somalia. “Where is their rizq?,” someone might ask. Yet we need to understand that there are consequences for our actions. Allah (swt) reminds us that if we do not rule with justice then there will be corruption on earth. Overusing resources, abusing human beings and hoarding wealth are things that are despised in our religion and Allah (swt) warns us severely against them. We cannot blame Allah (swt) when we have created a system which goes precisely against the way Allah (swt) has ordered us to live. So their test is this hardship in this life, though ar-Razzaq may manifest Himself in ways that we cannot imagine, and our test is failing to help them out of it.

 

One of the things that prevents our rizq from reaching us is our sins. But some may say that many seemingly sinful people appear to receive rizq, so is there even a correlation? Yet if that is all we see then we are being superficial. They may have received their material rizq, but Allah (swt) may deny them their spiritual rizq. And this is far worse. This is especially so when the bounty we have been given is used in illegitimate ways.

 

Now that we know ar-Razzaq, how can we live the meaning of this attribute?

 

We alluded to two things that we should do in order to receive our provision. We should not seek haraam means, as that also prevents our du`a’ (supplication) from being responded to by Allah (swt). The second is the key, which is to work hard. But there is a third component that is equally crucial. And that is the internal action: redha. Redha is contentment with what Allah (swt) has given us. We talked about this previously in the series on how to achieve tranquility of the heart. The basic gist of it is that we should not harbor any resentment or bitterness towards Allah (swt) for what we have been given. If we work hard and find that there seem to be no fruits to our striving, there is no anger in our hearts towards Allah (swt). We are content with what He has written for us—and what we have is more than enough. The Prophet ﷺ reminds us of why we should be content when he says, “Whoever wakes up safely in his home and is healthy in his body and has provisions for his day, would have acquired all the worldly possessions he is in need of,” (Tirmidhi). We should avoid being of the people whom Allah (swt) describes:

 

“And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss.” (Qur’an, 22:11)

 

How to Increase Rizq

 

Sheikh Ratib an-Nabulsi lists a number of ways in which we can increase our provision. I have summarized them below:

 

Taqwa (God-conciosuness): “And whoever has taqwa of Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect.” (Qur’an, 65:2-3)

 

Tawakul (reliance on God): “And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (Qur’an, 65:3)

 

Keeping good relations with family: The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Whoever would like his rizq (provision) to be increased and his life to be extended, should uphold the ties of kinship.’ (Bukhari)

 

Thankfulness: “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ ” (Qur’an, 14:7)

 

Asking forgiveness and tawba (repentance): “And said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” (Qur’an, 71:10-12)

 

Charity: “Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over?” (Qur’an, 2:245)

 

Reciting Qur’an: The Prophet ﷺ said: “The house in which Qur’an is recited is increased in good, and the house in which Qur’an is not recited is decreased in good.” (al-Bazzar)

 

Migrating for the sake of Allah: “And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many [alternative] locations and abundance.” (Qur’an, 4:100)

 

May Allah (swt) make us of those who know Him, who work hard for His sake, and who taste the paradise of contentment on earth.

VIA :http://www.suhaibwebb.com/relationships/withthedivine/ar-razzaq-the-provider/

http://www.suhaibwebb.com/relationships/withthedivine/ar-razzaq-the-provider/


Hamza and the Lion of Allah By Aber Kawas

Posted by JHR on February 10, 2012 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

There have been pictures and videos circulating for these past few nights of a boy whose face had been cut off in the unrelenting onslaught of Syrian violence. The despairing images of his jawless grimace, dripping with blood and his eyes full of pain have brought awareness, disgust, and outrage against the Syrian oppressors who have been mercilessly killing their people in an act of intimidation. Rivers of blood are running in the streets of Syria to quench Bashar Al Assad’s regime and their insatiable thirst for power.

 

The boy whose face has been seen by us all—his name is Hamza. He is my brother in Islam.

 

The name Hamza means ‘the one who is strong and steadfast’. It is the name of the Prophet’s ﷺ (peace be upon him) uncle radi allahu `anhu (may God be please with him) whose conversion brought strength, dignity, and most importantly safety to the Muslim ummah (community) during a time of oppression brought on by the Quraysh.

 

Hamza ibn Abd Al Muttalib was a fearless warrior, a man of integrity who fought vehemently against the makers of injustice, against those who used violence as intimidation against the Muslims for power centuries ago, just as today. His death and martyrdom brought peace to the Muslim nation; for the gruesome manner in which the Quraysh had dismantled his body when killed in the battle of Uhud, inspired a Qur’anic revelation to the Prophet ﷺ.

 

“Call mankind to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and sound advice, and reason with them in a well-mannered way. Indeed your Lord is well aware of those who have gone astray from His way, and He is well aware of those who are guided. And if you retaliate, let your retaliation be to the extent that you were afflicted, but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient; and be patient, yet your patience is only with the help of GOD, and do not sorrow for them, not distress yourself at what they devise. Indeed God is with those who are pious and those who are doers of good,” (Qur’an 16:125-128).

 

This ayah (verse, revelation) taught the Muslims to handle violence with mercy and patience, to never treat any human being, not even their enemies, with inhumanity no matter the circumstance—even in times of war. This is a lesson that the aggressors of today have ignored, as they continue to behave in a despicable manner against innocent civilians of their own lands.

 

Just as we felt our stomachs drop and could barely stand watching the images of Hamza sitting on a hospital bed helplessly and painfully waiting to die, upon seeing the corpse of Hamza on the battlefield of Uhud, the Prophet ﷺ also winced and could not stand the sight of his beloved uncle’s mutilated body.

 

Both the Hamza dominating our newsfeeds today, and the Hamza who has dominated the great stories of our past have been slaughtered in an appalling manner demonstrating the evil measures of their oppressors. However just as Hamza ibn Abd Al Muttalib’s death inspired peace and raised his rank and honor, we must do the same for our brother Hamza from today, who has also died in a fight for Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) a fight for freedom and justice, a fight for peace.

 

We must not let his death be in vain; we must speak out against the violence that he and his countrymen have endured, we must pray for their safety, and we must not ignore their cries.

 

May all of our brothers and sisters who have died in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and everywhere else while fighting for peace against oppression, find their peace in Jannah. May the blood that has charred their faces today turn into light on the day when the faces of their oppressors will be dark as ash. May Allah (swt) grant them victory and bring the nations they fought for to peace.

 

May our martyr Hamza one day meet his counterpart ‘The Chief of the Martyrs’ Hamza ibn Abd Al Muttalib. May they walk into Jannah together hand in hand, as our leaders, as the ones most deserving of al Firdous (the highest rank). For it is only fitting that they share this name, that this great martyr of our ummah today has been honored with the association of the greatest martyr of our history and past.

 

Bashar may be named Al Assad (the lion), but the young boy he brutally murdered is named after the Lion of Allah (swt)! May he be rewarded for the strength and steadfastness that his name upholds.

 

Verily it is to Allah (swt) that we belong, and to Him we will all return.

How To Benefit From the Quran

Posted by JHR on November 15, 2011 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)


Allaah the Most High says:

 

"Indeed in this there is a remembrance for those who have a living heart, listen attentively and are awake to taking heed." [Qaaf: 37]

 

Therefore, if you desire to benefit from the Qur'aan, gather your heart when reciting it, focus your attention to it and focus as if you are the one being directly addressed by it. For indeed it is an address from Allaah via the path of the Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam.

 

This is because gaining complete benefit from the Qur'aan is dependent upon the object providing the benefit, the place by which it is to be received, the conditions related to attaining the benefit and the non existence of anything that may hinder the benefit from occurring. Hence the verse contains an explanation of all of these points, with the shortest and clearest of words, and those that best prove the point.

 

Thus the saying of Allaah: {Indeed in this there is a remembrance} has an inference to what has preceded the verse from the beginning of Soorah Qaaf up to this verse and this is what is causing the benefit.

 

Whilst the saying of Allaah {who have a living heart} then this refers to the place that receives the benefit and this is the heart that has life and comprehends what Allaah has sent, as Allaah the Most High says:

 

"Indeed this is only a clear reminder and a Qur'aan so as to warn those who have a living heart." [Yaaseen: 69-70]

 

And His saying {listen attentively} i.e. who turns his attention to it and listens mindfully to what is being said. This is the condition that is placed so that one can be benefited by it. And His saying {are awake to taking heed.} i.e. that the heart is attentive to it.

 

Ibn Qutaibah said: "Listen to the book of Allaah whilst your heart and mind is attentive, not neglectful nor distant."

 

This is an inference to the matter that prevents one from attaining benefit. That is when the heart is distant and unmindful such that it does not understand what is being said, nor comprehend it.

 

Therefore if the cause of the benefit - the Qur'aan, is found and the place of receiving it - and that is the heart has life - and the condition is fulfilled - and that is listening attentively - and the barriers that would prevent benefit from being attained are avoided - and that is the heart being pre-occupied with something else and it being unmindful of what is said - then one attains the benefit, of being benefited by the Qur'aan. [Refer to al-Fawaa'id by Ibn-ul-Qayyim]

 

 

Shaykh Muhammad Jameel Zeeno

 

How To Understand the Qur'aan

© 1998 Call to Islam Da`wah Centre


Prophet Adam (A.S.)

Posted by JHR on September 21, 2011 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (2)

Allah the Almighty revealed: Remember when your Lord said to the angels: 'Verily, I am going to place mankind generations after generations on earth.' They said: 'Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while we glorify You with praises and thanks (exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You.' Allah said: 'I know that which you do not know.'

 

Allah taught Adam all the names of everything, then He showed them to the angels and said: "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful." They (angels) said: "Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise."

 

He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names," and when he had informed them of their names, He said: "Did I not tell you that I know the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been hiding?"

 

Remember when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourself before Adam" They prostrated except Iblis, he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers(disobedient to Allah)."

 

We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimeen (wrongdoers)."

 

Then the Satan made them slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: "Get you down all with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time."

 

Then Adam received from his Lord Words. His Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the most Merciful.

 

We said: "Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve. But those who disbelieve and belie Our Ayah (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, and signs and revelations, etc) such are the dwellers of the Fire, they shall abide therein forever." (Chapter 2:30-39, Qur'an).

 

Almighty Allah also revealed: And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam", and they prostrated, except Iblis, he refused to be those who prostrate.

 

Allah said: "What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not postrate when I commanded you?"

 

Iblis said: "I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire and him You created from clay."

 

Allah said: "O Iblis get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out for you are of those humiliated and disgraced."

 

Iblis said: "Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (Day of Resurrection)."

 

Allah said: "You are of those allowed respite."

 

Iblis said: "Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (they will not be dutiful to You)."

 

Allah said: "Get out from Paradise, disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all."

 

"And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the Zalimeen (unjust and wrongdoers)."

 

Then Satan whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts before, he said:" Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals." Satan swore by Allah to them both saying: "Verily I am one of the sincere well wishers for you both."

 

So he misled them with deception. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame (private parts) became manifest to them and they began to stick together the leaves of Paradise over themselves (in order to cover their shame). Their Lord called out to them saying "Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you, Verily Satan is an open enemy unto you?"

 

They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers." Allah said: "Get down one of you an enemy to the other (i.e. Adam, Eve, and Satan etc). On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment, for a time." He said: "therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected)." (Chapter 7:11-25 Qur'an).

 

We imagine when Allah the Almighty decided to create Adam: He addressed His angels and told them to prostrate before him. He did not mean to ask their opinion or take their advice, for He is above that. Allah the Exalted told them that He was going to create a vicegerent on the earth who would have children and grandchildren who would corrupt the earth and shed each other's blood. That is why the angels said to Allah the Almighty: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood!" (Chapter 2:30 Quran).

 

There are old traditions about the angels before the creation of Adam. According to Ibn Qatadah, it was said that the angels were informed about the creation of Adam and his progency by the jinn who lived before Adam. Abdullah Ibn Umar said that the jinn had existed for about 2000 years before Adam and then shed blood. Therefore Allah sent on them an army of angels that drove them out to the depths of the seas. Ibn Abi Hatim narrated from Ali jafar Al Baqer that the angels were informed that man would cause wickedness and shed blood on earth. It was also said that they knew that no one would be created on earth who would not be wicked and shed blood.

 

Whether or not these traditions are correct, the angels did understand that Allah would create a vicegerent on earth. Allah the Almighty announced that HE was going to create a human being out of clay, that HE would mold him and blow His spirit into him and then the angels should prostrate before him.

 

Abi Musa al Sha'arai narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Allah created Adam from a handful of dust taken from different lands, so the children of Adam have been created according to the composition of the land. Therefore from mankind we have white, red, black and yellow ones; we have good and evil, ease and sorrow, and what comes in between them." (Sahih al Bukhari).

 

Ibn Masud and other companions of the Prophet (PBUH) said that Allah the Almighty sent Gabriel onto the earth to said that Allah the Almighty sent Gabriel onto the earth to get Him clay therefrom. The earth said: "I seek refuge in Allah from your decreasing my quantity or disfiguring me." So Gabriel returned and did not take anything. He said: "My Lord, the land sought refuge in You and it granted."

 

So Allah sent Michael for the same purpose, and the land sought refuge with Allah and it was granted. So he went back and said to Allah what Gabriel has said before him.

 

Then Allah sent the Angel of Death, and the land sought refuge in Allah, the angel said: "I also seek refuge with Allah from returning without carrying out His command." So he took clay from the face of the earth and mixed it. He did not take from one particular place, but rather he took white, red, and black clay from different places.

 

The Angel of Death ascended with it, Allah soaked the clay till it became sticky. Then Allah said to the angels: "Truly, I am going to create man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him." (Chapter 38:71-72 Quran).

 

So Allah shaped Adam into a human being, but he remaineda figure of clay for 40 years. The angels went past him. They were seized with fear by what they saw, and Iblis felt fear most. He used to pass by the figure of Adam, buffeting it, which would make a sound like pottery. Allah told us: "He created man (Adam) from sounding clay like the clay of pottery." (Chapter 55:Quran).

 

When the time drew near to breathe the spirit into Adam, as Allah decreed, He commanded the angels: "When I breathe My spirit into him prostrate before him." Allah breathed His spirit into Adam and when it reached his head Adam sneezed. The angels said: "Say all praise belongs to Allah." Adam repeated: "All praise belongs to Allah." Allah said to him: "Your Lord has granted you mercy." When the spirit reached his eyes, Adam looked at the fruits of Paradise. When it reached his abdomen Adam felt an appetite for food. He jumped hurriedly before the spirit could reach his legs, so that he could eat from the fruits of Paradise. Allah, therefore, said: "Man is created of haste." (Chapter 21:37 Quran). And then: The angels prostrated themselves all of them together. Except Iblis, he refused to be among the prostrators. (Ch 15:31-32 Quran).

 

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Allah created Adam from dust after He mixed the clay and left him for some time until it became sticky mud, after which Allah shaped him. After that Allah left him till it became like potter's clay. Iblis used to go past him saying 'You have been created for a great purpose.' After that Allah breathed His spirit into him. The first thing into which the spirit passed was his eye and then his nose. He sneezed. Allah said: "May your Lord have mercy upon you, O Adam! Go to those angels and see what they would say.' So Adam went and greeted them. they replied saying: "Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of Allah." Allah said: "O Adam! This is your greeting and that of your offspring." (Sahih al Bukhari).

 

Allah the Almighty revealed: Remember when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (or from Adam's loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves saying: "Am I not your Lord?" They said: "Yes! We testify." lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection. "Verily we have been unaware of this." Or lest you should say: "It was only our father aforetime who took others pas partners in worship along with Allah and we were merely their descendants after them; will you then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced al batil (polytheism) and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah?"

 

Thus do We explain the Ayah (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations etc) in detail so that they may turn unto the truth. (Ch 7:172-174 Quran).

 

Adam's progeny declared: "Our Lord, we bear witness that You are our Lord; we have no other Lord but Allah. Allah raised their father Adam, and he looked at them and saw those of them who were rich and those who were poor, and those who had good forms and those who did not. Adam said: "O Allah! I wish You to make Your servants equal." Allah replied "I love being thanked." Adam saw among the prophets like lamps among his progeny.

 

Almighty Allah declared: Remember when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (o Muhammad), and from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus son of Mary. We took from them a strong covenant. (Ch 33:7 Quran).

 

In another verse Allah the Exalted commanded: "So set you (O Muhammad) your face towards the religion of pure Islamic Monotheism Hanifan (worship none but Allah Alone) Allah's Fitrah (Allah's Islamic Monotheism), with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in khalqillah (the Religion of Allah--Islamic Monotheism), that is the straight religion, but most men know not." (Ch 30:30 Quran).

 

Another version of the story relates that Allah took a handful of the dust of the earth and mixed into it the colors, white, black, yellow and red. That is the reason why men are born different colors. When Allah mixed the dust with water, it turned into potter's clay that makes a sound. It was fermented and had a smell. Iblis passed by, wondering what was going to be made of that clay. From the clay Allah created Adam. he molded his form with His own hands and blew His spirit into him. Adam's body quivered as life was imbued into it. Verily His Command, when He intends a thing is only that He says to it, "BE!" and it is! (Ch 37:82 Quran).

 

Allah the Almighty declared: Verily the likeness of Jesus, in Allah's Sight is the likeness of Adam, He created him from the dust then He said to him. "Be!" --and he was. (Ch 3:59 Quran).

 

Adam opened his eyes and saw all the angels prostrating before him except one being who was standing at a distance Adam did not know what kind of creature it was that did not prostrate before him nor did he know its name. Iblis was standing with the angels so as to be included in the command given to them but he was not one of them. He was a jinn, and as such he was supposed to be inferior to the angels. What is clear is that this prostration was to show respect and did not mean that the angels were worshipping Adam. Prostrating in worship is done only for ALLAH.

 

Almighty Allah recounted the story of Iblis's refusal to prostate before Adam: Remember when your Lord said to the angels, "I am going to create a man (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud. So when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) the soul which I created for him then fall you down prostrating yourselves unto him." SO the angels prostrated themselves all of them together, except Iblis, he refused to be among the prostrators. Allah said: "O Iblis! What is your reason for not being among the prostrators?" Iblis said: "I am not the one to prostrate myself to a human being, whom You created from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud." Allah said: "Then get out from here for verily you are Rajim (an outcast or cursed one). Verily the curse shall be upon you till Day of Recompense (Day of Resurrection). (Ch 15:28-35 Quran).

 

In another surah Almighty Allah recounted it thus: Surely We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam and they prostrated except Iblis he refused to be of those who prostrate.

 

Allah said: "What prevented you Iblis that you did not prostrate when I commanded you?" Iblis said: "I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire and him You created from clay." Allah said: "Get down from this Paradise, it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced." Iblis said: Allow me respite till the Day of Resurrection)." Allah said: "You are of those allowed respite." (Ch 7:11-15 Quran).

 

Ibn Jarir reported that Muhammad Ibn sirin said that the first one to reach a conclusion by reasoning was Iblis and that the sun and moon were not worshiped except through this method.

 

This means that Iblis tried to compare himself to Adam. He believed that he was more honorable than Adam. Therefore he abstained from prostrating even though Allah had commanded him to do so, just as He had commanded the angels. If an analogy is made we see that Iblis is vain. For indeed clay is better than fire because in it can be found the qualities of calmness, clemency, perseverance and growth; whereas in fire can be found heedlessness, insignificance, haste, and incineration.

 

Iblis tried in vain to justify his refusal: "Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?" Iblis said: "See? those whom You have honored above me, if You give me respite (keep me alive) to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few!" (Ch 17:62 Quran).

 

Adam was following what was happening around him and had feelings of love, awe, and astonishment. Deep love of Allah,Who had created and glorified him and Who had made His angels prostrate before him. Awe of the Creator's wrath when He excluded Iblis from His mercy. Adam was surprised by this creature, Iblis who abhorred hiwithout even knowing him and who imagined himself better than Adam without having proved that he was worthier. What a strange creature Iblis was, and how strange was his excuse for not prostrating!

 

He imagined that fire is better than clay, but how did he get such an idea? Such knowledge is exclusive to Allah Who fire and clay and Who knows which is the better of the two.

 

From the dialogue Adam realized that Iblis was a creature characterized by cunning and ingratitude. He then knew that Iblis was his eternal enemy. He was greatly astonished at Iblis's audacity and Allah's tolerance. Immediately after his creation Adam witnessed the large amount of freedom that Allah gives to His commissioned creatures.

 

Allah knew that Iblis was not going to obey Him in prostrating before Adam. Allah could have totally annihilated him or turned him into a handful of dust or stifled the refusal in his mouth. Yet, Allah gives His commissioned creatures absolute freedom even to the extent that they can refuse Allah the Almighty's commands. He grants them the freedom of denial, disobedience, and even disagreement with Him.

 

His kingdom will not diminish if the disbelievers do not believe in Him nor will it be extended if many people believe in Him. On the contrary, the disbelievers will lose, and the believers will gain but Allah is above all of that.

 

There were many traditions about Iblis at the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Ibn Masud, Ibn Abbas and a group of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that Iblis had been the head of the angels in the worldly heavens. Ibn Abbas said in one narration that his name had been Azazil and in another narration he said it had been Al Harith. Ibn Abbas also said that Iblis was a jinn and that they had once been the keepers of Paradise, with Iblis the most honorable and the most learned and the most pious of them. Another tradition says that he had been one of the famous four possessors of wings (angels), before Allah transformed him into the accursed Satan.

 

Allah Almighty recounts Iblis's disobedience in another surah: Remember when your Lord said to the angels: "Truly I am going to create man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him." So the angels prostrated themselves all of them; except Iblis, he was proud and was one of the disbelievers.

 

Allah said: "The truth is, and the truth I say, that I will fill Hell with you and those of them (mankind) that follow you together." (Ch 38:71-85 Quran).

 

After this lesson about freedom Adam learned another lesson, one about knowledge. Adam realized that Iblis was the symbol of evil in the universe and that the angels were the symbol of good. However he did not yet know anything about himself. Then Allah made him perceive his true identity and the reason for his creation, and the secret of his glorification.

 

Allah the Exalted said: He taught Adam all the names of everything. (Ch 2:31 Quran).

 

Almighty Allah granted Adam the power to know the natures of all things and to summarize them by names; that is a bird, that is a star, that is a tree, etc Allah implanted in Adam an insatiable need for and love of knowledge and a desire to bequeath knowledge to his children. This was the reason for his creation and the secret of his glorification.

 

After Adam had learned the names of all things, along with their properties and uses, Allah presented them to the angels and said: "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful." (Ch 2:31 Quran) the angels admitted their inability: "Glory be to You, we have knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily it is You the All Knower, the All Wise." (Ch 2:32)

 

Allah Almighty then turned to Adam: "O Adam! Inform them of their names, " and when he had informed them of their names, He said: "Did I not tell you that I know the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been hiding?" (Ch 2:33).

 

Allah wanted the angels to know that He knew of their astonishment when He had told them about the creation of Adam and that He also knew of their confusion which they had not revealed, as well as what Iblis had concealed of his disobedience and ingratitude.

 

The angels realized that Adam was the creature who knew what they did not know and that his capacity to learn was his noblest quality. His knowledge included knowledge of the Creator which we call faith or Islam, as well as the knowledge he would need to inhabit and master the earth. All kinds of worldly knowledge which are included in this.

 

Adam knew the names of everything. Sometimes he talked to the angels, but they were preoccupied with worshipping Almighty Allah. Therefore Adam, felt lonely. One day he slept and when he awoke he found near his head, a woman gazing at his face with beautiful tender eyes.

 

The angels asked him her name He replied: "Eve (Hawa)." (means living things). They asked: "Why did you call her Eve?" Adam said: "Because she was created of me and I am a living being."

 

Ibn Abbas and a group of companions of the Prophet (PBUH) narrated that when Iblis was sent out of Paradise and Adam was accommodated therein, Adam was alone in Paradise and did not have a partner from whom he could get tranquility. He slept for some time and when he woke up, he saw a woman whom Allah had created from his ribs. So he asked her, "Who are you? She replied, "A woman" He asked: "Why have you been created?" She said :"So that you could find tranquility in me." The angels, trying to find out the extent of his knowledge, asked him: "What is her name O Adam?" He replied, "Eve" They asked "Why was she so named?" He replied, " Because she was created from something living."

 

Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq and Ibn Abbas related that Eve was created from the shortest left rib of Adam while he was sleeping and after awhile she was clothed with flesh. that is why Allah the Exalted said: O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and from Him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women. (Ch 4:1) Allah also said: It is he Who has created you from a single person (Adam) and then He created from him his wife (Eve), in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. (Ch 7:189).

 

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "O Muslims! I advise you to be gentle with women, for they are created from a rib, and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part. If you try to straighten it, it will break and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women." (Sahih Bukhari).

 

 

 

Allah commanded Adam to dwell in Paradise: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimeen (wrong doers).(Ch 2:35)

 

The location of this Paradise is unknown to us. The Quran did not reveal it, and the commentators had five different opinions. Some said that it was the paradise of our refuge and that its place was heaven. Others regreted that statement because if it was the paradise of refuge Iblis would have been forbidden admission and disobedience would have been forbidden as well. Still others said that it was another paradise that was created by Allah for Adam and Eve. A fourth group said it was a paradise on the earth located in a high place. Another group of commentators accept what was in the Quran without questioning where this paradise was located. We agree with this last opinion as the lesson we learn from its location is immaterial compared to the lesson we leafrom the events that took place there.

 

Adam and eve were admitted to Paradise and there they lived the dream of all human beings. Allah permitted them to approach and enjoy everything except one tree, that might have been the Tree of Pain or the Tree of Knowledge. Allah forbade them they were give abode in Paradise. "But come not near this tree or you both will be of the wrong doers." (Ch 2:35)

 

Adam and Eve understood that they were forbidden to eat the fruit of that tree. Adam was however a human being and man tends to forget. His heart changes and his will weakens. Iblis summoned all the envy within him and took advantage of Adam's humanity to exploit him. He started to whisper to him day after day, coaxing him: "Shall I guide you to thTree of Immortality and the Eternal Kingdom?" He said to them: "Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals." He (Satan) swore by Allah to them both saying: "Verily I am one of the sincere well wishers for you both." (Ch 7:20-21)

 

Adam asked himself: "What will happen if I eat from this tree? It might truly be the Tree of Immortality." His dream was to live forever in the pure innocence of Paradise."

 

Years went by, and Adam and Eve were preoccupied with thoughts of that tree. Then one day they decided to eat of its fruit. They forgot that Allah had warned them not to approach it and that Iblis was their sworn enemy. Adam stretched out his hand, picked one of the fruits and offered it to Eve. They both ate of the forbidden tree.

 

Allah Almighty told us: "So he (Satan) misled them with deception." (Ch 7:22) Allah said: "Thus did Adam disobey his Lord so he went astray." (Ch 20:121).

 

According to the old Testament, Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat of the forbidden tree. She ate because of the words of the serpent and fed Adam some of it. At that moment, their eyes were opened to the fact that they were naked, and they took the leaves of the fig tree to cover themselves. Wahb Ibn Munabah said that their clothing (before their sin) was made of light on the private parts of both of them.

 

This story in the Old Testament is a falsification and deception. Allah the Almighty revealed: O Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you, as he got your parents (Adam and Eve) out of Paradise stripping them of their rainments; to show them their private parts. Verily he and Qabiluhu (his soldiers from the jinn or his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them. Verily, We made the devils (protectors and helpers) for those who believe not." (Ch 7:27)

 

Adam had hardly finished eating when he felt his heart contract, and he as filled with pain, sadness and shame. The surrounding atmosphere had changed and the internal music had stopped. He discovered that he and his wife were naked, so they both started cutting tree leaves with which to cover themselves.

 

Allah the Almighty addressed him: "Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: Verily Satan is an open enemy unto you?" They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers." Allah said; "Get down, one of you an enemy to the other (Adam, Eve, and Satan etc). On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment, for a time." He said: "Therein you shall live and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected)." (7:22-25).

 

Again there are old stories about these events. Al Hafez Ibn Asaker narrated that Allah commanded two angels to remove Adam from His holy proximity. So Gabriel stripped him of the crown on his head, and Michael took the diadem from his forehead. Adam thought that his punishment had been hastened and bowed down crying; "Forgiveness! Forgiveness!" so Allah asked: "Are you running away from Me?" Adam replied, "No, my Lord, but I am shy of You."

 

Abdul Rahman Ibn Amru AL Awza iy said that Adam spent 100 years in Paradise. In another narration it was said he spent 60 years. Ibn Asaker reported that Adam wept for 60 years for his loss of Paradise and 70 years for his mistake, and he wept for another 70 years when his son was killed.

 

They left Paradise and descended upon the earth. Adam was sad and Eve was crying. Allah accepted their repentance because it was sincere and He told them that the earth would be their realm and origin where they would live and die and whence they would come on the Day of Judgment.

Allah the Almighty recounted this third lesson Adam learned in Paradise: Indeed We made a covenant with Adam before, but he forgot, and We found on his part no firm will power. Remember when We said to the angels "Prostrate yourselves to Adam." They prostrated (all) except Iblis, who refused. then We said: "O Adam! verily, this is an enemy to you and to your wife. so let him not get you both out of Paradise, so that you be distressed in misery. Verily, you have (a promise from Us) that you will never be hungry therein nor naked. And you will suffer not from thrist therein nor from the sun's heat."

 

then Satan whispered to him, saying "O Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that will never waste away?" Then they both ate of that tree, and so their private parts appeared to them, and they began to stick on themselves the leaves from Paradise for their covering. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness and gave him guidance.

 

Allah said: "Get you down (upon the earth), both of you, together from Paradise, some of you are an enemy to some others. THen if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery. But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (neither believes in this Quran nor acts on its orders etc). Verily, for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection."

 

He will say: "O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight before." Allah will said: "like this, Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc). came unto you, but you disregarded them (you left them, did not think deeply in them, and you turned away from them), and so this Day, you will be neglected in the Hellfire, away from Allah's Mercy.)"

 

And thus do We requite him who transgresses beyond bounds (commits the great sins and disobeys his Lord (allah) and believes not in His Messengers, and His revealed Books, like this Quran etc), and believes not in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc). of his Lord, and the torment of the Hereafter is far more severe and more lasting. (Ch 20:115-127)

 

Some people believe that the reason why mankind does not dwell in Paradise is that Adam was disobedient and that if it had not been for this sin, we could have been there all along. These are naive fictions because when Allah wanted to create Adam, He said to the angels, "I shall make a vicegerent on the earth." He did not say, "I shall make a vicegerent in Paradise."

 

Adam's descent on earth, then, was not due to degradation but rather it was dignified descent. Allah knew that Adam and Eve would eat of the tree and descend to earth. He knew that Satan would rape their innocence. That experience was essential for their life on earth; it was a cornerstone of their vicegerency. It was meant to teach Adam, Eve, and their progeny that it was Satan who had caused them to be expelled from Paradise and that the road to Paradise can only be reached by obedience to Allah and enmity to Satan.

 

Could it be said that Adam and the rest of mankind were predestined to sin and to be expelled from Paradise and sent to the earth? In fact, this fiction is as naive as the first one.

 

Adam complete free will, and he bore the consequences of his deed. He disobeyed by eating of the forbidden tree, so Allah dismissed him from Paradise. His disobedience does not negate his freedom. On the contrary it is a consequence of it.

 

The truth of the matter is that Allah knew what was going to happen, as He always know the outcome of events before they take place. However Allah does not force things to happen. He grants free will to His human creatures. On that He bases His supreme wisdom in populating the earth, establishing the vicegerents, and so on.

 

Adam understood his 3rd lesson. He knew now in a practical way that Iblis was his enemy, the cause of his losing the blessing of living in Paradise, and the cause of his distress. Adam also understood that Allah punishes disobedience and that the way of Paradise has to be through submission to the will of Allah. And he learned from Allah Almighty to ask for forgiveness.

 

Allah accepted Adam's repentance and forgave him. He then sent him to the earth as His first messenger.

 

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger (PBUH) said: "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam: 'Your sin expelled you from Paradise.' Adam said: ' You are Moses whom Allah selected as His messenger and as the one to whom He spoke directly. Yet you blame me for a thing which had already been written in my fate before my Creation?" Allah's Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said twice, "So Adam outclassed Moses." (Sahih Bukhari).

 

Umar Ibn Al Khattab also narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Moses (PBUH) said: 'My Lord! May I see Adam who removed us and himself from the Paradise?" so Allah made him see Adam and he said to him: "Are you Adam?" Adam said: "yes." And he said "Were you the one in Whom Allah breathed His spirit and before whom He bowed His angels and to whom He taught the names of all things?" Adam answered: "yes." so Moses said: "What made you remove us and yourself from Paradise.?"

 

Adam said: "Who are you?" Moses said: I am Moses." Adam said: "So you are Moses the prophet of the Children of Israel. Were you the one Allah spoke to directly?" Moses answered "yes." Adam said: "Why do you blame me for a matter which Allah had predestined?" So Allah’s Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said twice. "Adam outclassed Moses." (Sahih al Bukhari).

 

there are many traditions concerning the place of Adam's descent upon earth. Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibn Abbas said: "Adam descended on land 'Dihna' between Mecca and taif." AL Hassan said that Adam descended in India and Eve in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Iblis Bodistiman (Iraq), and the serpent in Ashahan (Iran). This last was also reported by Ibn Hatim.

 

Ass'ady related that Adam descended with the Black Stone (a large black stone set into the wall of the ka'ba in Mecca. It is said to have come from Paradise) in India, and he had a handful of the seeds of Paradise. He sowed them in India and they grew into the fragrant tree therein.

 

Ibn Umar said that Adam descended on As-Safa and Eve on Al Marwa ( names of two mountains in the vicinity of the sacred house in Mecca. Part of the rites of pilgrimage (hajj) includes pacing between these two hills in commemoration of H's search for water). This was also reported by Ibn Hatim. Abdul Razzaq reported that Abi Musa Al-shari said that when Allah ordered Adam to descend from Paradise to earth, He taught him the making of everything and provided him with the crops from Paradise.

 

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "The best of days on which the sun has risen is Friday. One this day Adam was created, and on this day he was descended to earth." (al Bukhari)

 

Adam knew he bade farewell to peace and he left Paradise. On earth he had to face conflict and struggle. No sooner had one ended than another began. He also had to toil to sustain himself. He had to protect himself with clothes and weapons and protect his wife and children from the wild beasts. Above all he had to struggle with the spirit of evil. Satan, the cause of his expulsion from Paradise, continued to beguile him and his children in an effort to have them thrown into the eternal hellfire. The battle between good and evil is continuous, but those who follow Allah's guidance and should fear nothing while those who disobey Allah and follow Iblis will be damned along with him.

 

Adam grasped all of this and with the knowledge of this suffering he started his life on the earth. The only thing that allowed his grief was that he was master of the earth and had to make it yield to him. He was the one who had to perpetuate, cultivate and construct and populate the earth. He was also the one who had to procreate and raise children who would change and improve the world.

 

The pinnacle of earthly bliss was reached when Adam and Eve witnessed the birth of their 1st children, a set of twins. Adam was a devoted father and Eve a contented mother. The twins were Cain (Qabil) and his sister. Later Eve gave birth to a second set of twins, Abel (Habil) and his sister. The family enjoyed the bounties and fruits of the earth provided by their Lord. The children grew up to be strong and healthy young adults. Cain tilled the land while Abel raised cattle.

 

The time arrived when the two young men desired life partners. This was part of Allah’s plan for mankind, to multiply and form nations with different cultures and colors. Allah revealed to Adam that he should marry each son to the twin sister of the other. Adam instructed his children according to Allah's command, but Cain was displeased with the partner chosen for him, for Abel's twin sister was not as beautiful as his own.

 

It appears that since the beginning of time, physical beauty has been a factor in the attraction between man and women. This attraction caused Cain to envy his brother Abel. He rebelled against Allah's command by refusing to accept his father's advice.

 

At first glance Cain's rebellion might appear strange, but we should remember that although man has a pure nature, the potential for dichotomy exists. In other words, he had both good and bad qualities. He can become greedy, covetous,possessive, selfish and even destructive. Man is, therefore capable of seeking self-satisfaction even if it leads to failure in this life and in the hereafter. The path to goodness lies in harnessing the enemy within him, his baser self by controlling evil thoughts and deeds and practicing moderation in his desires and actions. His reward then will be the delights of this world and the hereafter. Thus Allah tests us through our divided nature.

 

Adam was in a dilemma. He wanted peace and harmony in his family, so he invoked Allah for help. Allah commanded that each son offer a sacrifice, and he whose offering was accepted would have right on his side. Abel offered his best camel while Cain offered his worst grain. His sacrifice was not accepted by Allah because of his disobedience to his father and the insincerity in his offering.

 

This enraged Cain even further. Realizing that his hopes marrying his own beautiful sister were fading, he threatened his brother. "I will kill you! I refuse to see you happy while I remain unhappy!"

 

Abel feeling sorry for his brother, replied, "It would be more proper for you, my brother to search for the cause of your unhappiness and then walk in the way of peace. Allah accepts the deeds only from those who serve and fear Him, not from those who reject His Commands."

 

Abel was intelligent, obedient, and always ready to obey the will of Allah. This contrasted sharply with his brother who was arrogant, selfish and disobedient to his Lord. Abel did not fear his brother's threats, but neither did he want his brother to be hurt, Allah had blessed Abel with purity and compassion.

 

Hoping to allay the hatred seething in his brother Abel said, " My brother, you are deviating from the right path and are sinful in your decisions. It is better that you repent to Allah and forget about your foolish threat. But if you do not then I will leave the matter in the hands of Allah. You alone will bear the consequence of your sin, for the Fire is the reward of the wrong-doers."

 

This brotherly plea did nothing to lessen the hatred in Cain's heart, nor did he show fear of Allah's punishment. Even familial considerations were cast aside. Cain struck his brother with a stone killing him instantly. This was the 1st death and the 1st criminal act committed by man on earth.

 

When Abel had not appeared for some time, Adam began to search for him but found no trace of his beloved son. He asked Cain about Abel's whereabouts. Cain insolently replied that he was not his brother's keeper nor his protector. From these words his father understood that Abel was dead and Adam was filled with grief.

 

Meanwhile Cain did not know what to do with his brother's corpse. He carried it on his back wandering from place to place trying to hide it. His anger had now subsided and his conscience was saddled with guilt. He was tiring under the burden of the corpse which had started to have a stench. As a mercy, and to show that dignity could be retained even in death, Allah sent two ravens that began fighting, causing the death of one. The victorious bird used its beak and claws to dig a hole in the ground, rolled its victim into it and covered it with sand.

 

Witnessing this, Cain was overcome with shame and remorse. "Woe unto me!" he exclaimed. "I was unable to do what this raven has done, that is to hide my brother's corpse." Cain then buried his brother. This was also the 1st burial of man.

 

Allah the Almighty revealed: And (O Muhammad) recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam (Abel and Cain) in truth; when each offered a sacrifice to Allah, it was accepted from the one but not from the other. The latter said to the former; "I will surely kill you."

 

the former said: "Verily Allah accepts only from those who are Al Muttaqeen (the pious). If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinn, and all that exists). Verily I intend to let you draw my sin onyourself as well as yours then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the Zalimeen (polytheists, and wrongdoers)."

 

So the self of the other (latter one) encouraged him and made fair seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers. Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said: "Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother?" Then he became one of those who regretted. (Ch 5:27-31).

 

Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud and a group of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) related that inter-marriage of the male of one pregnancy with the female of another had been in practice among Adam's children. Abel wanted to marry Cain's sister, but Cain wanted her for himself because she was very beautiful. Adam ordered him to give her in marriage to his brother but he refused. SO Adam ordered both of them to offer a sacrifice, then went to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. After Adam had left, they offered their sacrifices; Abel offered a fat lamb, he was a shepherd, while Cain offered a bundle of worst grain. fire descended and devoured Abel's sacrifice, leaving that of Cain so he became angry and said: "I will surely kill you so that you will not marry my sister." Abel replied, "Allah accepts from those who fear Him."

 

According to Abu Ja'afar al Baqer, Adam was watching their offering and was sure that Abel's sacrifice would be accepted. Cain complained to Adam that the acceptance was due to his supplication for Abel and that he had not done the same for him, so he promised his father to settle the matter between himself and his brother. One night, Abel was late returning from tending his flock. Adam sent Cain to see what happened to him. When he found him, he glared at him saying: "yours was accepted, and mine was not." Abel replied, "Allah only accepts from the Allah-fearing." Cain became angry on hearing this and hit him with a piece of iron that was with him and thus killing him. In another version it was said that he killed him with a rock to the head while he was sleeping.

 

Adam was utterly grief stricken by the loss of his two sons. One was dead, the other was won over by the devil. Adam prayed for his son and turned to mundane matters for he had to toil for his sustenance. At the same time he was a prophet advising his children and grandchildren, telling them about Allah and calling them to believe in Him. He told them about Iblis and warned them by recounting his own experience with the devil and of how the devil had tempted Cain to kill his brother.

 

Years and years passed, Adam grew old and his children spread all over the earth. Muhammad Ibn Ishaq related that when Adam's death drew near, he appointed his son Seth to be his successor and taught him the hours of the day and night along with their appropriate acts of worship. He also foretold to him the floor that would come.

 

Abu Dhar narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Allah sent down 104 psalms, of which 50 were sent down to Seth."

 

Abdullah Ibn Al Iman Ahmad Ibn Hanbal narrated that Ubai Ibn Kab said: "When Adam's death was near, he said to his children: "O my children, indeed I feel an appetite for the fruits of Paradise."

 

So they went away searching for what Adam had requested. They met with the angels, who had with them his shroud and what he was to be embalmed with. They said to them: "O Children of Adam, what are you searching for? What do you want? Where are you going?"

 

They said: "Our father is sick and has an appetite for the fruits of Paradise."

 

the angels said to them: "Go back, for your father is going to meet his end soon."

 

So they returned (with the angels) and when Eve saw them she recognized them. She tried to hide herself behind Adam. He said to her. "Leave me alone. I came before you; do not go between me and the angels of my Lord.' So they took his soul, embalmed and wrapped him, dug the grave and laid him in it. They prayed on him and put him in his grave, saying: 'O Children of Adam, this is your tradition at the time of death.""

 

Before his death Adam reassured his children that Allah would not leave man alone on the earth, but would sent His prophets to guide them. the prophets would have different names, traits and miracles, but they would be united in one thing; the call to worship Allah alone. This was Adam's bequest to his children. Adam finished speaking and closed his eyes. Then the angels entered his room and surrounded him. When he recognized the Angel of Death among them, his heart smiled peacefully.

 

After Adam's death, his soth Seth (Shiith) took over the responsibilities of prophethood, according to a hadith narrated by Abu Dhar. Abu Dhar narrated that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "Allah sent down one hundred and four psalms, of which fifty were sent down to Seth." (Sahih al Bukhari) When the time of his death came Seth's son Anoush succeeded him. He in turn, was succeeded by his son Qinan, claim that Mahlabeel was the King of the Seven Regions, that he was the first one to cut down trees to build cities and large forts and that he built the cities of Babylonia. He reigned for a period of forty years. When he died his duties were taken ov er by his son Yard, who on his death, bequeathed them to his son Khonoukh, who is Idris (pbuh) according to the majority of the scholars.


Prophet Zakariyah (Zechariah)

Posted by JHR on September 21, 2011 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Description of Zakariyah

The years had taken their toll on the Prophet Zakariyah (pbuh). He was now old and bent with

age, in his nineties. Despite his feebleness, he went to the temple daily to deliver his sermons.

Zakariyah was not a rich man, but he was always ready to help those in need. His one

disappointment in life was that he had no children, for his wife was barren. This worried him, for

he feared there was no one after him to carry out his work. The people needed a strong leader, for

it they were left on their own, they would move away from Allah's teachings and change the Holy

Laws to suit themselves.

 

 

 

 

Zakariyah Talks to Mary

 

During one of his visits to the temple, he went to check on Mary, who was living in a secluded

room of the temple. He was surprised to find fresh out of season fruit in her room. Besides him,

no one had entry to her room. When he inquired, she told him that the fruit was from Allah. She

found it every morning. But why was he so surprised, she asked him. Did he not know that Allah

provides without measure for whom He wills?

This noble girl had opened this eyes to a startling idea. Could he not ask his Lord to bless him

with a child in his old age? Even if his wife was past childbearing age, nothing was impossible for

his Gracious Lord!

 

 

 

 

Zakariyah Asks for a Son - Quranic

 

Allah the Almighty revealed:

'Kaf, Ha, Ya, Ain, Sad, (These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran, and none but Allah

Alone knows their meanings). This is a mention of the Mercy of your Lord to His slave

Zakariyah. When he called out his Lord (Allah) - a call in secret, saying: "My Lord! Indeed my

bones have grown feeble, and gray hair has spread on my head, and I have never been unblest in

my invocation to You, O my Lord! And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is

barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, - who shall inherit me, and inherit also the posterity of

Jacob (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.) And make

him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!"

Allah said: "O Zakariyah! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son. His name will be Yahya

(John). We have given that name to none before him."

He said: "My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the

extreme old age."

He said: "So (it will be). Your Lord says, It is easy for Me. Certainly I have created you before,

when you had been nothing."

Zakariyah said: "My Lord! Appoint for me a sign."

He said: "Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no

bodily defect."

Then he came out to his people from Al Mihrab (a praying place or a private room, etc.), he told

them by signs to glorify Allah's Praises in the morning and in the afternoon.

It was said to his son: "O John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah)." And We gave him

wisdom while yet a child, and made him sympathetic to men as a mercy or a grant from Us, and

pure from sins (John) and he was righteous, and dutiful towards his parents, and he was neither

an arrogant nor disobedient (to Allah or to his parents). And Salamun (peace) on him the day he

was born, the day he dies, and the day he will be raised up to life again! (Ch 19:1-15 Quran)

Almighty Allah also said:

"At that time Zakariyah invoked his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good

offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation."

Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in Al- Mihrab ( a praying place or a

private room), saying: "Allah gives you glad tidings of John confirming (believing in) the Word

from Allah ("Be!" - and he was! (i.e. the creation of Isa (Jesus), son of Mariam (Mary), noble

keeping away from sexual relations with women, a Prophet, from among the righteous."

He said: "O my Lord! How can I have a son when I am very old, and my wife is barren?"

Allah said: "Thus Allah does what He wills." He said: "O my Lord! Make a sign for me." Allah

said: "Your sign is that you shall not speak to mankind for three days except with signals. And

remember your Lord much (by praising Him again and again), and glorify Him in the afternoon

and in the morning." (Ch 3:38-41 Quran).


A Marine Discovers Islam in Iraq

Posted by JHR on August 21, 2011 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)


Before Ibrahim Abdel-Wahed Mohamed left Sea Cliff for a tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq, he was Anthony Grant Vance, the son of American and Panamanian parents who had raised him as a Catholic.

 

Despite his Christian upbringing, though, he had been curious about Islam since his childhood in Kansas, where he had two Afghani friends. He thought about pursuing anthropology studies to further learn about religion and different cultures, but instead ended up joining the military.

 

Mohamed felt the pull toward the faith strengthen in Iraq -- "the heart of the Islamic world," as he says -- and he reached out to the Muslim contractors on his base and started learning about the precepts of the Quran.

 

Convinced that he was being called to Islam, he officially became a Muslim while still serving in Iraq. There he underwent Shahada, a profession of faith where a person testifies in front of others that "there is no god but God and Mohammad is the messenger of God," as the Sunni declaration reads.

 

His transformation may seem dramatic, but it's not entirely unique. The number of Latinos in the U.S. converting to Islam is growing, and Long Island is no exception.

 

In 1997, the American Muslim Council counted approximately 40,000 Hispanic Muslims nationwide, but that number could nowadays be closer to 75,000, according to Latino American Dawah Association (LADO), an organization committed to promoting Islam among the Latino community within the United States.

 

Juan Galvan, a member of LADO, affirms that Latino converts to Islam are increasing. "Many Muslim organizations have stated that the Latino Muslim community tripled or quadrupled after 9/11," he says.

 

He explains that after the attacks, people wanted to know more about the religion. "Many people came to learn about Islam for the first time. Some people came to hate Islam, and some people came to love Islam."

 

Mohamed firmly stands with the latter, as one of a small percentage of soldiers who fought in Iraq and returned with a new faith.

 

In some ways, his roots may have predisposed him to theological experimentation.

 

Born in Panama to an American Marine father and Panamanian mother, he was baptized and raised as a Catholic. His parents divorced when he was an adolescent, and his father became a Jehovah's Witness. The conversion led his father to retire from the military after 13 years of service, telling Mohamed that once you decide to follow God, "you don't pledge allegiance to a country, but you pledge allegiance to God."

 

Still, Mohamed followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Marine Corps after he finished high school. As a Marine, traveled around the country, living in California, Virginia, North Carolina and New York, where he finally settled down.

 

It was working at the military base in Garden City when Mohamed first saw the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury, a place that always intrigued him. "We passed by the mosque a couple times and I had the curiosity" he recalls. After several years on Long Island, he was sent to Iraq in 2008.

 

Two years have passed since Mohamed converted to Islam. Now he lives in Westbury, attends the Islamic Center of Long Island and is pursuing a major in education at CW Post.

 

He still maintains an open mind when it comes to other religions.

 

"I'm not here to put anyone else down for their beliefs," he says. "I still believe that there are many lessons to be learned from other faiths."

 

This is the first part of a series looking at Latino Muslims on Long Island. It was originally published on Long Island Wins.


Islam Gives Brazil New Face

Posted by JHR on August 21, 2011 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

RIO DE JANEIRO – Giving Brazil’s carnival city a new taste, a growing number of Muslim converts in Rio De Janeiro is changing the face of the world’s biggest Catholic country.

 

“I found in Islam everything I had always looked for,” Omar Israfil Dawud bin Ibrahim, who until just four years ago officiated as Catholic priest at a local church, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, August 21.

 

“I met God as he is, with no adaptation,” the 34-year-old graphic designer said.

 

Wearing a traditional robe, Omar accompanies his wife, Alessandra Faria, who goes by the name “Fatima” after converting to Islam and donning hijab, on Ramadan nights to Mesquita da Luz, Rio's first mosque.

 

“At the seminary, you learn that Islam is one of the monotheistic religions. There is no prejudice against this religion,” said Omar as he stood by his wife.

 

As for the wife, the decision to don hijab in a city where mini-bikinis in seaside neighborhoods is a normal scene was surprising to many.

 

“In the beginning, my mother was mortified at the thought of going outside with me,” she said.

 

Feeling proud of her new religion, Fatima says her beliefs can find a place in the multi-cultural country.

 

“I wear the veil to show I am Muslim and aware that I am part of a minority,” she added.

 

“Brazil is a mix, made up of several different cultures. This mix makes Brazilians very adaptable and tolerant.”

 

According to the 2001 census, there are 27,239 Muslims in Brazil.

 

However, the Islamic Brazilian Federation puts the number at around one and a half million.

 

Islam expert Paulo Pinto of Fuminense Federal University estimated Brazil is home to about a million Muslims.

 

With no confirmed number of Muslims, the best indicator of the growth of Islam in the country is the rapid increase in the number of mosques.

 

There are now 127 mosques, four times as many as there were back in 2000.

 

New Facts

 

Posing new facts on the ground, a growing number of Brazilian converts changed the diagram of Muslims in the southern American country with converts representing 85% of the city’s Muslim population.

 

“The number of Muslims continues to grow, and most are Brazilians who are converting,” said Sami Isbelle, a spokesman for the Beneficent Muslim Society (SBMRJ).

 

“In Rio, there are about 500 Muslim families, 85 percent of them Brazilian converts who have no Arab links,” Isbelle said.

 

Things are different in Sao Paulo state and southern regions of Brazil.

 

The majority of Muslims are descendants of Syrian, Palestinians and Lebanese immigrants who settled in Brazil in the nineteenth century during the World War I and in the 1970s.

 

Many Iraqis have arrived in the country after the 2003 US-led invasion.

 

Most Muslims live in the states of Parana, Goias, Riod de Janiero and Sao Paulo, but there are also significant communities in Mato Grosso do Sul and Rio Grande do Sul.

 

The sudden rise of Muslim numbers followed 9/11 attacks which was accompanied by an increase in interest in Islam.

 

After the September 11 attacks in the United States, “there was a growth of interest in Islam, and many people decided to convert,” Pinto, the Islam expert, added.

 

“Islam was seen as a new form of resistance.”

 

Moreover, a soap opera launched just three weeks after the 2001 attacks, “The Clone,” sparked some Brazilians' interest in Islam.

 

Set in Morocco, the popular show showed a “positive imagine of that part of the world, with a benevolent Muslim hero,” said Pinto.

 

“There is a tendency to think that Brazilian culture, as liberal and sensual as it is, is against the rules of Islam.

 

“But in fact, there are many conservative rules that are part of moral and sexual control. Look at how many evangelicals are successful in Brazil!”


Ramadan: Time to Kick Porn Addiction Out of your System

Posted by JHR on August 16, 2011 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)


This article has been reviewed by resident MM Psychologist Haleh Banani; she has written up a follow-up article to this post, which will be posted soon after Ramadan inshallah.

This article  WILL help you KILL porn addiction or at least start on the road to recovery inshallah.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

Physiology of porn addiction & why it’s so hard to quitPorn addicts: you are not losers & you CAN quitThe Ramadan connectionSimple changes towards a new lifeThe other day on the MM Facebook page, I had posted a question- “what is one bad habit you’d like to kill this Ramadan?” Surprisingly, one brother openly wrote about his desire to stop watching porn. Think about it. What great desperation would make a person openly talk about this habit? In fact, this is a brave brother, who has recognized his battle, and who is literally begging for a cure, a change. He is afraid, scared of going through Ramadan, through fasts, afraid that he will not be able to ward off the urge to flip on an internet porn site, or a DVD to watch some porn.

Some of you may be thinking, “Astaghfirullah, how can someone even think of doing this in Ramadan?“. Stop.  First say Alhamdulillah, and thank Allah that He, Al-Rahman, has protected you from this great fitnah.  Next pray to Allah that He keeps you away from the dark forces of sexual addictions of all types, from porn to zina, naudhubillah.

Some of you may remember that I addressed the dangers of porn addiction in a post nearly four years ago called Pornography Addiction Among Muslims. Not only did this article touch a strong nerve in our community, but it has since become the 3rd most viewed post on MuslimMatters. And, every few months, it still goes viral.  Why? Not because the post is some masterful gem written by a world expert; rather, the post was merely a collection of true stories of people afflicted. With the availability and accessibility of internet spreading like wildfire, I reckon the problem has only gotten worse.

Effects of Porn

Although destructive in many ways, the deteriorating impact porn addiction has on intimacy between spouses, tops the list.  There is developing research that “pornography was progressively desensitizing these men sexually… that they quickly required higher levels of stimulation to achieve the same level of arousal”. The sad reality is that your wife/husband becomes progressively insufficient to satisfy your sexual desires.

For those addiction-afflicted as well as those who aren’t, take heed of the dangers of porn addiction. Like alcohol and drug addiction, porn addiction cannot simply be shut off. Rather, one must undergo a rigorous process requiring time and effort, and this process cannot start unless one understands why this addiction is so strong.  Porn addiction is one sub-category of sexual addictions, likely the lightest in terms of haram- but equally destructive and almost certainly leading to worse if not nipped in the bud. That is why Allah has instructed us to not even “approach zina” [Quran 17.32], because with porn as an entry-way, it becomes almost impossible to stop one’s path to zina.

Why is it an Addiction?

Research has shown that porn addiction is a “chemical addiction“, having an effect on the brain that is very similar to drugs. It has even been called the new crack cocaine in this Wired article. Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Therapy, calls porn the “most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today.”

First let’s see how drugs work so we may see how analogous it is to porn addiction. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports: “Most drugs of abuse directly or indirectly target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which rewards our natural behaviors, produces the euphoric effects sought by people who abuse drugs and teaches them to repeat the behavior.”

Porn addiction works similarly: “During the sexual process, the brain begins narrowing its focus as it releases a tidal wave of endorphins and other neurochemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin and serotonin. These “natural drugs” produce a tremendous rush or high. When these chemicals are released during healthy marital intimacy we refer to them as “the fabulous four” because of the myriad positive benefits they generate between a husband and wife. When they are released during pornography use and other sexual addiction behaviors, we call them “the fearsome four” due to the severe addiction and many negative consequences they produce in the brain and nervous system.” [Read more in this informative article]

Overcoming Addiction

We know that drug addicts can get over their addiction. We know that alcoholics have been able to do the same.

So, if you are a porn addict, know this:

(1) you are not alone

(2) you are not a loser or an evil person

(3) you CAN kick this habit but only with a huge amount of jihad’l-nafs (the struggle of the soul).

This psychologist-backed site will further help you understand your addiction–the first step in this journey of killing it. I have not done an extensive review of the site, so “buyer beware”. Please keep your Muslim hat on, and, like all information, screen it through a simple Islamic filter.

For spouses, family, friends, and supporters, know that:

(1) It is important that you “recognize” the addiction and become partners towards a cure rather than continually debasing and disparaging the addict. Debasement only makes the addict feel worse and increases the desire to seek pleasure from endorphins through porn.

(2) Porn addiction is destructive not only for the addict, but also for the spouse. As we saw in my previous post on porn addiction, it has the ability to destroy marriages. That is why it is not to be taken lightly. I urge spouses of addicts to please also be a “partner in solution” rather than a police officer. You cannot hammer the addiction out of your spouse. Learn about its physiological and psychological aspects, and HELP in the recovery. If you love your spouse, you will give it your very best shot.

The Ramadan Connection

The psychologist linked above, Joe Zychik, mentions two requirements for overcoming sexual addictions– effective motivation and a reliable method.

Ramadan is a time where we are instructed to fast. Fasting has been described by the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as one of the ways to control sexual desire:

Abdullah (b. Mas’ud) (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to us: “O  young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford it should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire.”

During regular days, it may be tough to observe this instruction, but Ramadan is a month where you are surrounded with “effective motivation” to fast. The last thing you want to do is go through the motions of fasting yet breaking it by engaging in your addiction. Use this opportunity to make some strong moves towards a “reliable method“.

Partner Up

Connect with a close friend, family member, or spouse–someone you can trust. Let’s call this person your “partner”. Have your partner install a strong porn filter/activity monitor on your computer. Let him/her control the password and make this partner promise that they will not give it to you regardless of how much you ask for it. If it helps, make them swear by Allah. In some cultures, putting your hand on the Quran reinforces this promise.

Make Structural Changes

Replace your SmartPhone- If you watch porn on your phone, get rid of it! Replace it with a non-internet-capable “cheap mobile”. Either you can have a nice toy or you can save yourself from porn.

Change your computer- If you watch it on your laptop, consider buying a desktop instead that stays in an open area where you wouldn’t want to be caught watching porn.

Turn off your TV- if u have any porn videos or DVDs, destroy them now, before you lose your spirit.

Reliable Methods

Self-Talk- Talk to yourself and your partner about your addiction. Consider this: If you are able to control yourself during fasting, why can’t you control yourself during the nights of Ramadan, nights that are the holiest nights of the entire year? And if you are able to control yourself for the entire Ramadan, is the Allah of Ramadan not the same Allah of the rest of the months, Who watches your every move?

Make constant dua- Ask Him, Al-Tawwab, to pardon your sins, and grant you barakah in your efforts and time to help you overcome this trial. Recognize that you are in this trial only by the will of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and by His will and mercy, He will lift you from this trial after you rise from it, a stronger believer. Use the nights of this most blessed months, and the moments before you break your fast to humbly ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for help.

Moisten your tongue with duas such as this one:

اللهم اني ظلمت نفسي ظلما كثيرا ولا يغفر الذنوب الا انت فاغفرلي مغفرة من عندك, وارحمني انك انت الغفور الرحيم

‘Alla-humma innee thalamtu nafsee thulman kathee-ra wala yaghfiru thunouba ila anta, faghfirlee maghfiratan min ‘indika, warr hamnee innaka antal Ghafoor-ur Raheem.’

[O Allah! I have wronged myself very much, and none can forgive sins, except You only. Grant me forgiveness, and have mercy upon me; indeed You are the Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful.] (Bukhari) (for in-detail translation)

Read Self Help Books- Beyond the self-talk, you need to continue the journey on a “reliable method”. Your best bet is to get books on breaking sex addiction. Do it NOW before you lose your motivation to read them! It is more important for you to read these books in Ramadan than to spend time on entertaining guests or even tarawih (stopping haram is more important than an optional, mustahab).

Get Counseling- If you have access and ability to engage with a psychologist, this is the time to put that in motion. Call one and set up an appointment. Make sure this psychologist is a specialist in the area of addictions, especially sex addiction.

In other words, start doing whatever it takes during these Ramadan days of high spiritual motivation to set into motion something that will keep you porn free in the LONG RUN, as opposed to perhaps controlling it only in Ramadan.

Note: This article does not rely or recommend “coaches”. Maybe in a year, when we have testimonials from people who have been cured–and stay cured–with such coaching services, I’d be glad to advertise their services. For now, please don’t post any such services provided, because this would be just advertisement that I do not, in good faith, agree with or can recommend. This is my own opinion, not MM’s.